January 24-26, 2018: Consul General Lacroix’ first visit to the "Bluegrass State"
On his first trip to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Mr. Lacroix promoted France as land of RD, talent and investment and discussed economic exchanges and opportunities with French and American leaders of the business community, and guests of the annual Global Executive Forum Breakfast organized by World Trade Center Kentucky. In Frankfort, the State’s capital, Mr. Lacroix also met with the heads of the Cabinet for Economic Development.
Promotion of education and teaching of the French language was also a priority theme. Mr. Lacroix visited Whitney Young Elementary School in West Louisville. This school, which is already providing French instruction in kindergarten through grade 5, as well as the broad International Baccalaureate, could become the site of a new dual-language immersion program in French upon SBDM Council approval. It is part of the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) system. Consul General Lacroix was greeted by Dr. Erica Lawrence, Principal and Erica Ward, French professor, and accompanied by Dr. Jacque van Houten, past President of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTLF) and President of the Sister Cities Louisville-Montpellier.
Mr. Lacroix also met with Dr. Felicia Smith, JCPS Assistant Superintendent, to further discuss the project and explore new avenues of collaboration in the field of education.
The dynamic sister cities partnerships Louisville-Montpellier, and Lexington-Deauville are other instruments for cooperation between France and Kentucky. Mr. Lacroix met representatives of both committees, as well as French students currently in exchange in Louisville as well as American students who went to Montpellier in 2017 through the Work Exchange Program.
Montpellier and Louisville became Sister Cities in 1954. Louisville’s origins date back to 1669, when French explorer La Salle discovered the area. Louisville was officially founded by George Rodgers Clark in 1778, but following the American Revolution, the city of Louisville was named after Louis XVI to thank the French king for his help during the war. As a reminder of the historical bonds between Louisville and France, a statue of King Louis XVI can been seen across from the Louisville City Hall. It was presented as a gift to the city by Montpellier on July 17, 1967.
Today, through the Sister Cities relationship, several reciprocal programs have remained consistent: the Montpellier Work Exchange Program, created more than 40 years ago, the Montpellier Yearlong Scholarship, and cultural person-to-person exchanges. A city-to-city and chamber-to-chamber agreement was also signed to broaden business relationships and to stimulate trade between the two cities. Finally, over the years, Louisville and Montpellier have worked closely together in building exchanges in the field of culture and sports.
The Sister Cities partnership between Lexington and Deauville was signed in 1957, bringing together two cities that are internationally recognized for their passion and expertise for thoroughbreds. The 60th anniversary of the two cities’ relationship was celebrated in October 2017. Mayor Jim Gray hosted Deauville Vice Mayor Isabelle Patry-Santos, and former Mayor Anne d’Ornano. At a special ceremony, a park bench was unveiled, to recognize the Sister Cities relationship between the two cities.
Through the partnership several programs are offered such as the Deauville teaching assistantship, the Deauville Internship Program and the UK–Caen Deauville Twinning Committee Scholarship Program in partnership with the University of Caen.
To conclude his program in Kentucky, Consul General Lacroix paid a special tribute to one of their own, WWII Veteran Marvin Mills. During a special ceremony in Lexington he presented the French Legion of Honor to Mr. Mills in recognition of his valorous actions in France during the war. The event took place in the presence of Mayor Gray, Attorney General Andy Beshear, and Corey Ann Howard Jackson representing the Kentucky Secretary of State office.
WATCH: French Consul General @GJ_Lacroix toured @WhitneyYoungES today! Upon SBDM Council approval, the school will become the site of a new dual-language immersion program! #WeAreJCPS pic.twitter.com/1Fdoq38zOY
— JCPS (@JCPSKY) January 25, 2018
and Dr. Jacque van Houten